This Wildcat squad has been generally been on the bad side of average when it comes to shooting the basketball. This squad ranks near the bottom of the entirety of the NCAA when it comes to shooting from behind the 3-point line. These guys just don't usually expect to see shots fall on a consistent basis.
So leave it to these guys to save the best for last. The Wildcats drained shots at a 76% clip in the first half, only the third time in K-State basketball history that a team has shot that well in a half. The worst 3-pt shooting team in the Big 12 drained 6 of 9 3pt shots in the first half and 10 of 19 for the game (tying a season-high for makes).
Despite how well the Wildcats finished the game, they still managed to start the game as they have started many others this year. Four turnovers that led to four TCU points put the Wildcats in a quick hole. Then someone figured out where the power cord was, plugged it in, and then the Wildcats were off. Three assists on three made baskets put the Wildcats up 7-4 going in to the first media timeout put the momentum firmly in K-State's favor, and these guys were finally able to hang on to it for an entire game.
Even Brian Rohleder got in on the scoring action in the first half. After a first half that saw Barry Brown shoot 3-4 from 3pt land, Justin Edwards make both of his, and even Corlbe Ervin make a three, it was Rohleder that drew the largest amount of noise from the crowd with a 14ft buzzer-beater to help send the Cats to halftime with a 47-28 lead.
The second half was more of the same, with a couple of cold-shooting periods and some sloppy play resulting in turnovers mixed in. The Cats shot only 40% in the second half, which is still better than many games this season. The Wildcats ended the game shooting nearly 57%, and over 52% from behind the arc. Even selmdom-played guys like Mason Schoen, Zach Winter and Ron Freeman scored. Brown made a career high five 3pt makes, Rohleder scored a career-high four points, and Ervin scored a career-high nine. For all the scoring, D.J. Johnson was held to only eight points for his lowest output in the last several games.
3, 19, 31
The Wildcats snagged only three offensive rebounds. That's what happens when you hit so many of your shots. TCU did bring in 19 defensive rebounds, but that pales in comparison to the 31 that the Cats pulled off TCU misses.
76, 67, 90
Those are, in order, the Cats FG, 3pt, and FT shooting percentages in the first half. Unconscious.
Justin Edwards and Dean Wade both scored in double-figures while playing fewer than 20 minutes.
Even with only snagging three offensive rebounds, the Wildcats still out-rebounded the Horned Frogs.
Player Of The Game: Barry Brown
Microwave gets the nod here for shooting for a game-high 15 points, and notching a team-high 35 minutes. He also snagged two rebounds, dished out five assists to only two turnovers, and forced two steals.
Tigger Of The Game: Brian Rohleder
Note: Since HC Bruce Weber noted there are "a lot of Tiggers on this team," we're going to find that player that had an high-flying offensive play, stonewall defensive play, or a notable performance, and call them out here.
Rohleder gets the nod here for his buzzer-beater before the half, as well as knocking down his first free-throws of his career to notch his career-high in points.
Other Notable Performances
Justin Edwards was perfect from behind the 3pt line, making all three of his attempts, on his was to 12 points in only 18 minutes. He was joined in double figures by Wesley Iwundu with 11 and Dean Wade with 10.
Stephen Hurt only scored four points, but grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots on the night.
Chauncey Collins was the only Horned Frog in double figures, leading his team with 11 points
The Wildcats finally got shots to fall
It was the one key to the game, the one key to many games. And finally, finally the shots fell. There was a point in the first half when it seemed like everything the Cats were throwing at the basket was going in. This must be what it's like to watch those guys down the river play basketball (but who would want to do that anyway...).
It was great to see these guys play with confidence, make good passes, find open guys, and hit open shots. Of course it helps that TCU looked out of sorts after the first few minutes, but the Cats finally took advantage of that opportunity and made shots.
The regular season finale is a road trip on Saturday to Lubbock to take on a Tech squad that will be hungry on their own Senior Day after getting pounded by West Virginia 90-68 in Morgantown tonight.